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Precautions when disconnecting the battery when there is a solar panel fitted


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I believe you should disconnect the solar panel first, by removing the in-line fuse.

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  • Grandpa Steve changed the title to Precautions when disconnecting the battery when there is a solar panel fitted

Never given this a second thought, the dealers don't seem to be bothered.

Also note that the regulator is recommended to be connected to the battery before connecting to the solar panel. However, before finding this out, I had done the opposite (more convenient) for many years without problem. Perhaps I've just been lucky?

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Wouldn’t give it a second thought, it’s not as though you are talking about the sort of current (around 600 volts) produced by domestic roof mounted PV panels 

 

In these days of everyone being manically  risk averse I have never seen/heard any warnings about disconnecting Motorhome/caravan solar panels. I take that to signify there’s no (significant) risk attached to the operation. 

 

If it makes you feel happier then fling a blanket or similar mover it, but only if it’s really sunny, in overcast conditions solar panels produce virtually nothing. 

 

 

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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Play safe .  Pull the solar panel fuse as recommended by the manufacturers.

Yes,  the risk of a big bang is minimal - but even 0.01amp can spark - and removing the fuse also protects the electronics in the panel controller if battery polarity is reversed or shorted.

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So there’s no risk of a spark when pulling a fuse then??

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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The risk in not disconnecting/covering the solar panel before diconnecting the battery is not from any sparking,

It's the 20+ volts the panel will feed into your caravan electrics when they only normally receive about 13 volts.

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3 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

Wouldn’t give it a second thought, it’s not as though you are talking about the sort of current (around 600 volts) produced by domestic roof mounted PV panels

 

 

600 volts isn't current, current is measured in Amps

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I have disconected the caravan battery quite a few times, including when I relocated the battery which took a couple of days. I thought about the panel but didnt consider it to be a real risk. I didnt bother covering the panel, or take any precaustions. After reading this thread I would probably be more careful next time.

Ern

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47 minutes ago, OWOMW said:

The risk in not disconnecting/covering the solar panel before diconnecting the battery is not from any sparking,

It's the 20+ volts the panel will feed into your caravan electrics when they only normally receive about 13 volts.

Isn't the solar panel connected to a regulator before it gets near the caravan battery?  Won't the regulator protect the caravan electrics?

2 hours ago, CJ1149 said:

Play safe .  Pull the solar panel fuse as recommended by the manufacturers.

Yes,  the risk of a big bang is minimal - but even 0.01amp can spark - and removing the fuse also protects the electronics in the panel controller if battery polarity is reversed or shorted.

Can share your link to these recommendations please?

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1 minute ago, Richard080561 said:

Isn't the solar panel connected to a regulator before it gets near the caravan battery?  Won't the regulator protect the caravan electrics?

 

There are those who are convinced that it’s dangerous and nothing is going to change their view. A bit like those who will not use a hose to top up their aquaroll if it’s not “food grade” 

 

Personal choice, I choose to use a bit of common sense and/or logic.

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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7 minutes ago, Mr Plodd said:

 

There are those who are convinced that it’s dangerous and nothing is going to change their view. A bit like those who will not use a hose to top up their aquaroll if it’s not “food grade” 

 

Personal choice, I choose to use a bit of common sense and/or logic.

We had a thread on a home brew forum with people saying you shouldn't use a garden hose to fill your boiler when brewing, only use food grade silicon.  Some of us pointed that we have been using the garden hose for years and it's never done us or the resulting beer any harm.

The same goes for filling the aqua roll.  I'll also admit to only giving it one good clean a year and making tea from water drawn from the aqua roll.

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There must be tens of thousands of vans out there with factory fit solar.  A number will at any one time have no battery fitted or it’s disconnected say In storage or just taken home to charge it for example.  To say nothing of all those for sale.  Their is no big red print in Baileys manual about must have a battery connected or pulling fuses etc. 

The controller has built in short circuit protection, reversed polarity protection etc. It also states the solar controller will only release charge to the battery if it detects one. When plugged into EHU the controller is doing its job stopping and power from the panel going to the battery.   Do we see vans on a hot sunny day with the solar panel bursting into flames. There is not a queue of caravans outside every dealer with fried electrics because the owner dared to disconnect the battery. 

 

Just saying. 

 

Edited by Alan Stanley
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As said, think of all the solar panel equipped caravans on forecourts with no battery fitted. Three of our caravans had solar panels, all I did when removing the battery was to ensure the positive & negative terminals couldn’t accidentally touch each other.

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10 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

So there’s no risk of a spark when pulling a fuse then??

Yes there is a spark risk. The difference is, the spark is inside the van, well away from the battery, whereas leaving the fuse in, and disconnecting the battery invites a spark at the battery terminals, right where any flammable gasses might be present. 

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1 hour ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

Yes there is a spark risk. The difference is, the spark is inside the van, well away from the battery, whereas leaving the fuse in, and disconnecting the battery invites a spark at the battery terminals, right where any flammable gasses might be present. 

Surely there is potential for a spark when you disconnect or connect the battery whether or not the solar panel connected?

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37 minutes ago, Richard080561 said:

Surely there is potential for a spark when you disconnect or connect the battery whether or not the solar panel connected?

 

Of course there is, is just that having decided it’s “dangerous”  it’s necessary to think of something to support that view! 

Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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I had not thought of this as a hazard type issue, not a "safety issue" more something not in the best interest of the solar controller, potential to damage that.

Two things make me connect and disconnect  in the "right order", one is a warning in the controller's manual, the other is it cost me £150.

No more complex than that, I have no incentive to prove the controller maker  [arguably the World leader] does not know what they are talking about.

 

 

Edited by JTQ
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When the 'van was new and we were collecting it,  the dealer told us to fit our battery and then insert the solar panel fuse.  Ever since then,  when disconnecting the battery,  I have first removed that fuse.

John.

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Never ask a man if he comes from Yorkshire. If he does, he'll tell you. If he doesn't, why humiliate him?

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In my battery box there is a warning message in red capitals about disconnecting the solar panel before disconnecting the battery. I choose to obey that instruction.

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1 hour ago, OWOMW said:

In my battery box there is a warning message in red capitals about disconnecting the solar panel before disconnecting the battery. I choose to obey that instruction.

 

3 hours ago, Leedslad said:

When the 'van was new and we were collecting it,  the dealer told us to fit our battery and then insert the solar panel fuse.  Ever since then,  when disconnecting the battery,  I have first removed that fuse.

John.

 

5 hours ago, JTQ said:

I had not thought of this as a hazard type issue, not a "safety issue" more something not in the best interest of the solar controller, potential to damage that.

Two things make me connect and disconnect  in the "right order", one is a warning in the controller's manual, the other is it cost me £150.

No more complex than that, I have no incentive to prove the controller maker  [arguably the World leader] does not know what they are talking about.

 

 

It's good to see some people acting on instructions from sources that should know, even if we can only speculate on the reasons for the instructions.

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Risk aware

 

Risk averse.

 

Big difference between the two

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Experience is an awful teacher who ends up sending you simply horrifying bills

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18 hours ago, Mr Plodd said:

So there’s no risk of a spark when pulling a fuse then??

The fuse should not be in the vicinity of the battery (or any other gas)  as I was told (off) with my DIY installation when the van was serviced.  It was in the battery compartment, I moved it to in the van next to the regulator.

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